Chile’s Digital Revolution

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in an excellent conversation about the future of digital economy from the Chilean perspective at the launch of the Ovum report: “7 Public Policy Recommendations to Attract Investment in Latina America in the Digital Revolution,” commissioned by AT&T. The event included Pais Digital and DirecTV Chile- the main players of the Chilean digital ecosystem, along with the recently appointed Telecommunications Undersecretary Pamela Gidi. We gathered to exchange views and expectations regarding the digital revolution in Chile.

Representatives of the Chilean Government, AMCHAM Chile, the Pais Digital Foundation, the National Infrastructure Council along with TELCO operators and entrepreneurs also took active part in a lively and substantial conversation about how the speed of transformation into a convergent technology landscape shapes daily lives of consumers/users and -as a consequence- the way public policies are formulated.

The debate is extremely compelling now in Chile as the new Government of Sebastian Pinera took office on March 12 and sets out to implement a political program with a strong emphasis on growth and competitive positioning of Chile in the global scenario.

As in other realities of the Latin American region, our sector plays a key role in unlocking the opportunities created by the digital economy and Chile is no exception. The question is always about how to create a positive environment for the digital revolution and its catalyzers, how to attract foreign investors and how to fill the infrastructure gap in a geographically challenging region. And ultimately, how to do it while change is taking place every day and the future is here.

Competition seems to be the keyword. The convergence of communications services challenges players every day to reinvent themselves and their products, creating new business models, new players, and new services. Collaboration between government and the private sector is critical to create the environment for trigger healthy competitiveness necessary to unlock the potential of this revolution. And it is not a simple task. To encourages investment in innovation, it is important to establish a modernized, horizontal and flexible regulatory framework to enable players to compete on a level playing field, offering more diversified services and products to the consumers. The debate on modernizing regulatory frameworks should be elevated at regional level to guarantee consistency, predictability, more innovation cycles and overall better prices. These elements will help create a regional digital market. Efficiency and predictability are key for all investors, especially foreign ones, who would be encouraged to populate markets with a long-term approach.

When AT&T started as a start-up 142 years ago, it had a clear product to offer and very few customers, it all started with the telephone. Today, 11 years after the launch of the first iPhone we connect experiences, lives, stories, homes, vehicles and look forward to further disrupt the market with one question in mind: what will our customers wish for next? I am guessing the answer will be more exciting than the question.

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